The Authentic series from JBL is composed of two wireless speakers, the JBL L8 and JBL L16. It is the ?small’ JBL L8 that we will be testing today, soon to be followed by the review of the bigger JBL L16.
This wireless speaker features ideal functions to say the least, with the support of Apple AirPlay and DLNA protocols in order to stream music from an iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, iTunes, Android smartphone or tablet. It is also equipped with an optical S/PDIF input to connect an HD TV and use the speaker as a sound bar. Two network controllers are available, one is WiFi (for AirPlay and DLNA) and the other one is Bluetooth with NFC support.
There are also two USB ports to charge your mobile devices.
JBL L8: quality drivers
As is often the case, the U.S. brand has not held back on the quality of the transducers and amplification. There is a pair of 4″ diameter drivers, along with two 1″ composite dome tweeters. Each bass/medium driver is loaded in a specific air volume, with a bass-reflex enclosure and a down-firing circular port.
The amplifier delivers 4×30 Watts for an announced maximum sound level of 104 dB at 1 m. This very high sound level lets you enjoy more than ambient music. According to JBL, the frequency response ranges from 45 Hz to 35 kHz.
JBL L8: easy to use with Bluetooth devices
The JBL L8 wireless speaker has two circular tactile command buttons, one to switch the speaker on and the other one to select your source. Pairing it up with our Bluetooth smartphone was absolutely no problem. All we had to do was to keep the Bluetooth button pressed for a few seconds for the speaker to be detected. We were then able to listen to MP3 files streamed from our mobile devices, the possibility to set up the speaker via the JBL music app is also offered.
Bluetooth pairing is necessary in order to send the WiFi network parameters to the speaker from the Android or iOS system of a smartphone or tablet. From then on, the speaker can be used in AirPlay mode.
JBL L8: AirPlay and DLNA
The JBL L8 reacts in a heartbeat when it comes to playing compressed or lossless files streamed from iTunes, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. The DLNA mode on the other hand was slightly problematic as the speaker was not able to play the files from Samsung Galaxy Note. Probably a compatibility problem between the Android version we used (CyanogenMod 11) and the JBL Music app.
JBL L8: TV soundbar
The Toslink S/PDIF input allows you to use this speaker along with your HD TV. Although Dolby Digital and DTS compatibility are not offered, the JBL L8 is compatible with PCM 16 bits and 48 kHz audio stream, which lets you properly enjoy digital TV, DVDs and Blu-rays.
The JBL L8 speaker makes quite an impression and definitely has a lot to offer. The low frequency range is balanced and has enough impact to deliver a good show. Obviously, two 4″ drivers can’t work miracles but the energy is undeniable. The medium and treble range will require a little patience from the listener as the speaker will need a breaking-in period of at least twenty hours. Its great amount of energy is a good point for home cinema use in smaller rooms. This speaker should be ideally used in Bluetooth or AirPlay mode and connected to an HD TV.